This whole ICC business is depressing. First, because it shows that perceptions matter more than actions: it’s not what you do; it’s what people think you did or represent. It’s what you look like and what you say. It’s how you sound and the color of your skin. Boiled down, it’s really all about what the cool, rich kids think and say about you. In other words, we haven’t evolved much from the school playground.
Second, the more I read about the ICC the more I think it’s an unjust, flawed and unfair mechanism that subjects poor countries’ internal issues to the judgement of foreign eyes. Sure the concept of an international super court sounds good on paper but in practice it can be manipulated to serve political ends, as what we are seeing now. It is not surprising that only African leaders have been indicted in the ICC (the ICC’s chief prosecutor is an African woman, Fatou Bensouda of Gambia).
Even the US State Department criticized the ICC, saying there is “insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses”. Of course, the US does not recognize the ICC when it comes to its own controversial torture, drone bombing campaigns, nor potential war crimes in a Afghanistan, etc.
Which brings me to depressing point number three. Because the ICC is fighting to rationalize its own existence and to fend off criticism that it has only been going after African leaders, it seems the easy thing for it to do now is to indict a brown leader from Asia. The case is a lousy one, but the coordinated press attacks have primed public opinion. It has all been building up to this.
Finally, depressing point number four: At a time when all Filipinos should be uniting to support the duly-elected president, and vehemently protesting this blatant foreign interference, some (the usual suspects) are clearly smacking their lips with pleasure and anticipation. They don’t know or don’t care that the country has moved closer to the prospect of chaos.
Will history repeat itself? Will the Philippines again shoot itself in the foot, grab defeat from the jaws of victory, due to our consistent penchant of putting political self-interest before the national well-being?